When God Sleeps
April 2, 10 PM
Streaming April 3

When God Sleeps

  • BY Till Schauder | IN Faith
    Premiered April 2, 2018

About the Film

Would you risk your life for what you believe in?

When God Sleeps is a rap-punk-rock documentary about Iranian musician Shahin Najafi, who is forced into hiding after hardline clerics issue a fatwa for his death, incensed by a rap song that focuses on the oppression of women and human rights abuses. Risking his life every time he steps on a stage, Shahin refuses to stop performing.   MORE

In 2012, Najafi released a satirical rap song that triggered thousands to rally in a campaign for his assassination. Incensed by the song’s irreverent remarks about Ali al-Naghi, one of twelve imams revered by Shia Muslims, hardline clerics placed a $100,000 bounty on his head. “My songs didn’t make me famous,” said Shahin. “The fatwa did.”

German journalist Günter Wallraff, who gave refuge to Salman Rushdie after his death fatwa, offers shelter to Shahin too. Despite the threats against his life, Shahin insists on total freedom of expression. His stubborn refusal to back down in spite of death threats is reminiscent of a suicide mission, complicating long-term planning for a new romantic relationship. Ironically, his uncompromising stance is not unlike that of the religious hardliners who want him dead. Shahin sees it as his mission, indeed his life’s purpose, to stand up to oppressive religious leaders — even if he has to pay the ultimate price for it.


The Filmmakers

Till Schauder (Writer/Director/Producer) got his start in Germany, where he wrote and directed the award-winning narrative short City Bomber and his award-winning feature debut Strong Shit (Max Ophüls Film Festival Reader’s Award). His U.S. debut, Santa Smokes, won several international awards, including Best Director at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Studio Hamburg Newcomer Award. In 2012, Till completed his first documentary, The Iran Job, which made several Best Film of the Year lists in the U.S. and was shortlisted for a German Academy Award. Till directed The Young Man and the Sea (2015), a TV documentary for ZDF 3Sat, which was shortlisted for Germany’s Grimme Award for Best Documentary Series. When God Sleeps has won several international awards including “Most Valuable Documentary of the Year” from Cinema for Peace during Berlinale, and the Golden Heynal Award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival. It was shortlisted for a German Academy Award and was nominated for Best Documentary at festivals in Gothenburg, Oslo and Prague. In 2017 Till completed Warriors of Faith (Glaubenskrieger), for which he won the ARD Top of the Docs Award and a German Emmy for Best Documentary 2017. Warriors of Faith was also nominated for the Prix Europa 2017. Till also produced The Reggae Boyz for ARTE. He received his MFA at the University of Television and Film, Munich and teaches film at Vermont College of Fine Arts and NYU’s School of Professional Development.

Sara Nodjoumi (Producer) is a film producer and festival programmer. She most recently produced the feature documentary The Iran Job, which was released theatrically and on Netflix. For The Iran Job, Nodjoumi managed two of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time. She co-produced and co-directed I Call Myself Persian: Iranians in America, which aired on PBS and premiered at the MoMA Documentary Fortnight. Nodjoumi joined director Till Schauder on his feature films Santa Smokes and Duke’s House (Tribeca Film Festival). Their collaboration continues with the feature documentary The Reggae Boyz. From 2004-2009, Nodjoumi worked at the Tribeca Film Festival as an Associate Programmer and is the Artistic Director of the New York Sephardic Film Festival. Nodjoumi also works with filmmakers as a consultant on crowd-funding and audience engagement campaigns. LESS

Film Credits

DIRECTED BY
Till Schauder

PRODUCED BY
Sara Nodjoumi & Till Schauder

CARD:
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Lisa Kleiner Chanoff & Bonni Cohen
Julie Goldman & Chris Clements
Abigail Disney & Gini Reticker
Lois Vossen
Sally Jo Fifer

PHOTOGRAPHED BY
Till Schauder & Gerardo Milzstein

EDITOR
Tina Grapenthin

CONSULTING EDITOR
Mark Becker

COMMISSIONING EDITOR ITVS
Noland Walker

SUPERVISING PRODUCER FOR ITVS
Michael Ehrenzweig

COMMISSIONING EDITOR WDR
Jutta Krug

SONGS BY
Shahin Najafi & Majid Kazemi

ORIGINAL SCORE BY
Max Avery Lichtenstein

FEATURING
Shahin Najafi
Leili Bazargan
Sharyar & Zary Ahadi
Majid Kazemi
Michael Krol
Ben Trawinsky
Niko Stallman
Simon Schneibel
Agusto Stahlke
Günter Wallraff

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Henning Brümmer
Hajo Schomerus
Till Vielrose

ASSISTANT EDITOR
Aron Koszeg

CO-PRODUCER GERMANY
Till Schauder Filmproduktion

CONSULTING PRODUCER GERMANY
CORSO Film

ASSISTANT TO THE PRODUCERS
Victoria Hazebrouck
Saoli Nguyen
Josh Powell

PRODUCTION SOUND
Frank Bubenzer
Jule Buerjes
Michael Geck
Mattis Hanspach
Rene Niklas
Alexander Yaker

RESEARCHERS
Victoria Hazebrouck
Melissa Imasuen

POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
Mark Steele

DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE COLORIST
Will Cox

DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE ONLINE EDITOR
Kevin Caby

DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE ENGINEER
Drew Kilgore

DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE PRODUCER
Caitlin Tartaro

DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE COORDINATOR
Hannah Macdonald

RE-RECORDING MIXER
Mike Frank

SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR
Mike Frank

DIALOGUE & SOUND EDITOR
Arjun Sheth

ASSISTANT SOUND EDITOR
Alex Barnhart
David V. Britton
Matt Orlando

VFX ARTIST
Casey Friedman

TITLES & GRAPHICS
Palaceworks

END TITLES CREATED WITH
EndCrawl

TRANSLATORS/TRANSCRIPTION
Braudry Translation Services
Kenneth Crab

Oldouz Deghan
Shekhar Gahlot
Victoria Hazebrouck
John Howard
Melissa Imasuen
Saskia Jell
Matthias Kreuter
Marie Nehles
One Language Communications
Melissa Oskouie
Adina Schöpp
Ilias Stanois
Elaheh Tagvaei
Petra Zahnhausen

PRODUCTION COUNSEL
Jonathan Gray, Esq.

DISTRIBUTION LEGAL SERVICES
Evan Krauss, Esq.

FAIR USE ATTORNEY
Chris Perez

PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT
Ameena Din

CPA
Jessica Vaiana

ARCHIVAL MATERIAL PROVIDED BY
Adventurism
Shahryar Ahadi
Zary Ahadi
ARD
Associated Press
Yunus Balcik
BBC / BBC News
Bendaly Family
CNN
Compact TV
Deutsche Welle English
euronews
Imran's Photography
Ina
Amin Khelghat
Le Monde
Lenziran
Shahin Najafi
NasrTV
NDR / Das!
New York Times
Pyramide Media
Shia TV
Tagesschau
Taraneh Enterprise
tmbstudio
Jan van Bekkum
VOA Persian Ofogh

MUSIC
"A Ranandegi Dar Masti" and "BBBC"
Written and performed by: Shahin Najafi
Music arrangements and production by: Majid Kazemi
Published by: Shahin Najafi
Courtesy of Shahin Najafi

"Too Halgham" and "Aureliano"
Written by: Shahin Najafi
Performed by Shahin Najafi and Majid Kazemi
Music arrangements and production by: Majid Kazemi
Published by: Shahin Najafi
Courtesy of Shahin Najafi

"Naghi"
Written by: Shahin Najafi
Performed by Shahin Najafi and Majid Kazemi; Shahin Najafi and band
Music arrangements and production by: Majid Kazemi
Published by: Shahin Najafi
Courtesy of Shahin Najafi

"Salam", "Mammad Nobari", and "Ghazi"
Written by: Shahin Najafi
Performed by Shahin Najafi and band
Music arrangements and production by: Majid Kazemi
Published by: Shahin Najafi
Courtesy of Shahin Najafi

"Sade"
Written by: Shahin Najafi
Music arrangements and production by: Majid Kazemi
Published by: Shahin Najafi
Courtesy of Shahin Najafi

SPECIAL THANKS
Nahid Hagigat
Nicky Nodjoumi
Amanda Brokaw
Jim Browne
Andrew Catauro
Lori Cheatle
Myra Cohen
Laura Colella
Karen Dillon
Hadi Ghaemi
Elke, Peter and Hella Grapenthin
Ineke Hagedorn
Claudia Haj Ali
Matthew, Lucas & Lucy Hamacheck
HotDocs Forum
Independent Film Project
Nazy Kaviani
Pedro Kos
Donna Kozloskie
Mina McAllister
Christoph Menardi
Michael Negroponte
Bebe Negar Nodjoumi
Luca Nodjoumi
Nika Nodjoumi
Brigid O'Shea
Hava Pasha & Paul Noordam
Stephen Pite
Geoff Richman
Jose Rodriguez
Karim Sadjadpour
Götz Schauder
Silvia Schauder
Oliver Schmid
Dan Schrecker
Paul Sturtz
Jasmin Tabatabei
Julide Tanriverdi
David Teague
Lili Török
David Wilson
Malik Vitthal
Kiepenheuer & Witsch Verlag
Sigrid Wolfram

FUNDING PROVIDED BY
FFA - German Federal Film Board
Medienstiftung NRW - Gerd Ruge Stipendium
New York State Council on the Arts
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
Hartley Film Foundation
Real Fiction
Flora Family Foundation
Jerome Foundation

WHEN GOD SLEEPS is a co-production of Partner Pictures, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

This program was produced by Partner Pictures who is solely responsible for its content.

© 2017 Fourth Child LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Would you risk your life for what you believe in? After watching the film, what do you think of the way Najafi fights for freedom of expression despite the risks?

AWARDS

  • Cinema for Peace
    Most Valuable Documentary
  • Krakow Film Festival
    DocFilmMusic Award
  • Tribeca Film Festival
    Best Documentary Film (Nominee)
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Would you risk your life for what you believe in? After watching the film, what do you think of the way Najafi fights for freedom of expression despite the risks?